Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Hamas: Egyptian coup leaders trying to restore rule over Gaza

Hamas is concerned that Egypt may be trying to restore its sovereignty over the Gaza Strip, Mousa Abu Marzook, a senior Hamas official, said Monday.

Abu Marzook wrote on his Facebook page that by sending helicopters to fly over the Gaza Strip, “Egypt is signaling that it trying to restore its sovereignty over the area, which it lost after the 1967 aggression.”

Over the past few days, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip reported that Egyptian military helicopters flew over certain parts of the Gaza Strip as part of a massive security crackdown on terror groups in Sinai.

Palestinians said that this was the first time since 1967 that Egyptian military helicopters had flown over the Gaza Strip, which until then was under Egyptian control.

Abu Marzook reiterated that Hamas was not meddling in any way in Egypt’s internal affairs.

Hamas’s armed wing does not operate outside the Palestinian territories, he added in response to reports in a number of Egyptian media outlets claiming that Hamas militiamen were behind terror attacks on Egyptian troops and civilians.

“Our resistance is only directed against [Israeli] occupation,” Abu Marzook said. “For the one-thousandth time we state that these are lies and fabrications.”more

Israel police: 2 Gaza rockets hit Israel

JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel on Wednesday but caused no damage or casualties, a police spokeswoman said.

"The rockets landed in the Eshkol region," Luba Samri told AFP, adding that "security forces are searching for their remains".

A lone rocket hit the same area on Sunday, and two hit southern Israel last Thursday, none causing any damage or casualties.

The last incident of cross-border fire between Israel and the Islamist Hamas-ruled Gaza was on June 24, when the Islamic Jihad group fired five rockets at Israel, which retaliated with air strikes. more

Egypt tunnel closures create 'serious shortages' in Gaza says UN

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said Tuesday that Egypt's crackdown on smuggling tunnels, together with ongoing Israeli restrictions, have created severe shortages in Gaza.

Robert Serry, speaking to the UN Security Council, said political developments in Egypt have led to an intensified campaign against smuggling tunnels along the shared border.

"As a result of these actions against illegal activity, according to some estimates, 80 percent of the tunnels are no longer functioning," Serry was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The crackdown has led to serious shortages of fuel and basic building materials, Serry added.

The top UN official warned that access into Gaza through legal crossings must be liberalized, otherwise economic and humanitarian conditions would further deteriorate.

"We encourage all parties not to forget the precarious situation in Gaza and to take advantage of the improved context between the parties to further lift the remaining closures," the Special Representative said, also calling on Egypt to keep open the Rafah crossing for people. more